Wyoming Representative Says no to Federal Gun Control

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Vice President Joe Biden is set to present a pair of gun control proposals to President Obama devised by a task force he put together to address the issue. While many feel that additional gun control measures are necessary, indeed critical in the wake of gun violence on campuses and in public venues across the nation, many others feel their rights under the Second Amendment, which provides for the right to “keep and bear arms”, are dangerously threatened.

Wyoming State Representative Kendell Kroeker has introduced a bill into the legislature that would make the enforcement of any federal law banning assault rifles and high capacity magazines a felony under Wyoming State law. His bill, if passed, would target federal agents and subject them to a maximum penalty of a five year prison term and fine of $50,000 if they were to attempt to enforce any such federal law in Wyoming. The bill would cover federal gun-related bans passed after the first of January, 2013.

With this bill, Kroeker is making an argument that, similar to Virginia and Kentucky opposition to an act in the eighteenth century, nullification of federal law is a power that states possess. Opponents say the constitution is clear:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

The legal theory of nullification proposes that states have a right to nullify any federal law that they see as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court, however, has already ruled on nullification, stating that under Article III of the Constitution, declaring federal laws to be unconstitutional is the province of the federal courts thus states do not possess that authority.

Nevertheless, the bill has a good chance of passing the Republican majority legislature that is strongly in favor of gun rights over gun control.